On April 4, the European parliament passed more stringent rules regarding emissions that could spell the death of diesel powered vehicles. The tougher laws were aimed at preventing another scandal along the lines of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal.
The Volkswagen scandal highlighted the relatively lax laws in Europe regarding emissions and sparked demands for a complete overhaul of rules on how vehicles are licensed and tested across the common market. In the wake of the scandal, it was found that on-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were as high as 15 times the regulatory limits, and manufacturers used devices to reduce exhaust treatment. Though such devices are illegal according to EU law, manufacturers cleverly used a loophole in the law that permits them to use software to reduce emission controls in order to protect car engines
EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor (585 to 77) of the draft bill, which would give EU greater oversight and allow Brussels to fine car manufacturers flouting norms up to 30,000 euros (USD 31,923.00) per vehicle.
This has led many automakers to ramp up their efforts on making cost effective environment friendly electric vehicles. According to European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska diesel vehicles are expected to disappear much faster than previously expected as an outcome of the new rules,.
Earlier, car manufacturers used to directly pay the testing agencies. Now, according to the draft law, EU nations have to fund car exhaust testing centers and have the right to levy fees from car manufacturers to set up these testing centers.
Brussels would have the power to carry out spot checks of vehicles and levy fines while authorities at the national level will be able to peer-review each other’s decisions.
Based on the bill, the funds obtained through the fines can be used to compensate car owners and fund environmental protection or market surveillance measures.
The new law still needs to be finalized after negotiations between EU lawmakers, the Commission and the member states of the European Commission.
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